The Journey to Casa Madera – What do you mean there is a Hurricane out there!

October 10, 2011 – Heather and I are sitting on our kitchen balcony this morning at Casa Madera Bed and Breakfast in Nuevo Vallarta enjoying our coffee wondering what the next 3 days will hold.  5 days ago a small disturbance formed out in the Pacific Ocean that over the days developed into a Category 3 Hurricane, Jova.

Puerto Vallarta has been threatened before this year but nothing has come close.   Jova has been listed as a potential direct hit for our beautiful part of the world now for 3 days.  Late yesterday that changed and it will probably hit land 150 miles down the coast near Manzanillo which is great for us but not so much for the poor people in Manzanillo and surrounding area.

When Heather and I moved here 3 years ago we knew that the area always had the potential for Hurricanes but it is rare for a Hurricane to hit land on the Pacific East Coast.  It does happen but not like the East Coast of Mexico or the United State and Canada.   However we are from Northern Alberta where you never knew when a Tornado might make an appearance so really what was the difference.  That and you just cannot let something limit you like weather or other natural events.  So we moved anyway.

This has been the closest we have been to having to deal with tropical weather.  Since we have been here we have dealt with a glancing blow from a tropical storm which hit Mazatlan and another that came in for 30 minutes (which we both slept through), downed trees and took off some roofs in Bucerias but otherwise nothing. Yes there is odd good storm during rainy season but nothing worse than Alberta would see.

We know the power that these storms punch but somehow I am disappointed that it is not going to hit us.  I don’t know why.  Is it the power of nature that I really wanted to see first hand?  Or did I want to see how the house stood up to it?  Either way, it is idiotic!

The storm was upgraded last night to a Category 3 Hurricane which would be devastating.  Major storm surge, houses damaged, trees blown down and a large amount of flooding.  You just cannot wish that on the other residents in the area, many who have no insurance on their belongings that they worked hard to obtain.  Not to mention that our deductible is 20% of any hurricane loss so do I really want to spend $8,000.00 if we suffer $40,000.00 in damage?

But that is only money and really money does not mean anything in the grand scheme of things.  Life is what it is all about.  A hurricane at this point in time would be bad for Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit.  The Pan American Games are about to start in Guadalajara this week with a couple of events taking place in our fair city.   The City of Puerto Vallarta just spent a ton of money rebuilding the jewel of the city, the Malecon, which is due to open this week with the games.  I would hate to see all of those pesos go to waste, especially considering that high season is only 4 weeks away.

This is a tourist area.  It thrives on tourist dollars.  All of our Canadian and American friends who live here year round make their living off of tourists as we do too.  None of us can afford to have a hurricane take that season away.  But that is just us.  The infringers, the expats, the ones who really don’t belong.

The real damage would be to our Mexican hosts who let us live here.  People whose entire year rests on the next 6 months.  A major hurricane would wipe out families.  Some kids would not be able to afford to go to school.  Families would be struggling to put food on the table.   Lives would change and not for the better.

The country is already struggling thanks to the American and Canadian media and their reporting on what happens here.  I will not deny that there are areas in Mexico that are not particularly safe however, most tourist areas and cities are very secure and a pleasure to be in and see.  Heather and I feel safer here than we did travelling through the United States to get here.

While I will admit to trepidation when we crossed the border in a car 3 years ago that was mainly due to language and not knowing the customs.  In most places we stopped on the way down we were treated with respect and joy for being there.  That does not stop.  Whether we are driving in the middle of nowhere or in major centres, people are happy to see us and share their food and culture with us.  I would hate to see that change.

Though is it is currently pouring with rain, I am looking forward to spending a great day with some Canadian friends at Blakes Sports Bar to watch the Edmonton Eskimos beat the crap out of the Saskatchewan Roughriders.  In reality who wins does not matter.  The fact is we got to spend the day with friends and all of us will be hopeful that nothing develops out of this hurricane.  If not for us but for the people who grew up in this great country.

I have only one message to say, don’t believe everything you read in the papers or hear on the 5:00, 6:00 or 7:00 newscast.  Mexico is truly a great place, the people will love you, feed you well and make sure your cerveza is cold.  But most of all you will be making sure that our Mexican hosts can eat.  They are good people and they deserve it.

So on Canadian Thanksgiving Day I am thankful that I have two healthy children, a healthy granddaughter, a grandson on the way and many, many Mexican friends who have allowed me to partake in their customs, their way of life and helped me to discover the joy of being myself.

This is truly a great place and Hurricane Jova, where ever you hit, YOU CANNOT CHANGE IT!